Water is the first thing you should reach for if you’re seeking a healthy, hydrating beverage of choice. If you’re looking for some variety, though, there are a number of health beverages out there that taste great and come with a variety of nutritional benefits.
A note on fruit juices: While we will be highlighting different fruit-based beverages, we’re talking about fresh-squeezed options or juices without added sugars.
Many of the fruit juices out there are packed with sugar and preservatives that make them no better than the soda you’re avoiding.
These are the 13 best health beverages, other than water, to drink guilt-free.
1. Black Coffee
Coffee is one of the most common ways to start your morning. If you like to drink it black, you’re already kicking your day off with one of the original healthy drinks out there. (Yes, coffee is generally good for you.)
The caffeine in black coffee doesn’t just give you the energy boost you’re likely craving. Coffee can lower your risk of a number of health conditions, including cancer, and improve your heart health.
Just make sure to follow the basic coffee rules:
- Don’t drink coffee in the afternoon/evening
- Limit your coffee to no more than 4 cups/day
- If you’re going to add something to it, stick to healthy add-ons like oat milk and stevia (stay away from chemical and sugar-laden additives)
Love a cup of joe, but hate the tummy troubles that come with it? Try a low-acid coffee like Golden Ratio that promises to be gentler on your digestion. (And they didn’t even pay us to say that! 😉)
2. Fruit-Infused Water
We all know the benefits of drinking water. Water helps keep your body in balance, gives you a boost of energy for your next workout, and gives your skin a healthy glow.
It’s a great idea to drink plain water throughout the day, but there are ways to make a glass of water more exciting.
Give your water a flavor boost by adding slices of lemon, lime, and cucumber to your glass. Lemon water, in particular, will give your body a dose of vitamin C and aid in weight loss. It’s been linked to metabolism regulation in the fight against obesity.
If you’re thinking about a true fruit-infused water, allow your added ingredients to soak for a few hours or even overnight before the first sip of your homemade flavored waters.
Other yummy fruit-infused waters can include herbs, ginger, watermelon, berries, and more.
3. Green Tea
If you’re looking for a coffee alternative that packs an impressive health punch, reach for green tea.
What is the healthiest drink in the world? Besides water, green tea is often considered the healthiest drink in the world.
The flavonoids and antioxidants in green tea have been linked to improved brain function, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and a reduced risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. It’s even good for your teeth!
4. Low Sugar Wine
Drinking wine in moderation is fine for most healthy adults. Some wines even boast health properties you may not get from many other sources. The resveratrol in red wine, for example, has been linked to anti-cancer properties and protective effects on the brain.
Not all wines are created equal, though. That sweet dessert wine could be packing as much as 7 grams of sugar in one glass.
Look for wines that are naturally low-sugar, and contain no added sugars post-fermentation.
If you're cutting back on alcohol, it can be difficult to find an alcohol-removed wine brand that doesn’t taste like sugary sweet grape juice in a bottle. Surely’s nonalcoholic wines taste more like the real thing.
Start with our pinot noir for all the health benefits of a bold red wine, with none of the morning-after regret.
5. Pomegranate Juice
All-natural pomegranate juice is a great source of vitamin C and heart-healthy antioxidants that reduce inflammation. That’s what makes it one of the healthiest fruit juices out there, bumping out orange juice in most wellness plans.
When choosing a pomegranate juice, make sure that you’re looking for brands that don’t add sugar to their bottles, especially if you’re watching your blood sugar levels.
6. Coconut Water
Move over, sports drinks.
If you’re looking for natural electrolytes (minerals like sodium, calcium, and potassium that give you energy and rehydration after a workout), try coconut water.
Low-calorie coconut water is also lower in carbohydrates and sugars than many popular sports or energy drinks out there. Coconut water improves hydration more efficiently than most beverages.
This fizzy fermented tea has been popular in natural health circles for years. Drinking kombucha, which is full of probiotics (good bacteria), may support your immune system, improve digestion, and fight inflammation.
Research is ongoing as far as many of the health claims associated with kombucha. Scientists have found, though, that kombucha’s antioxidant properties vary based on the tea used in fermentation.
Red and green teas are best if you’re looking to boost your antioxidant consumption. Like everything else on this list, be careful to choose brands with no added sugar when you’re drinking to your health.
8. Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherry juice may seem a little bit niche, but those in the know are well aware of the juice’s health benefits.
Look for options that include no added sweeteners, and juices not from concentrate. If you’re looking for mocktail ideas, this one could be great with a seltzer as a cranberry juice alternative.
9. Homemade Cocoa Drinks
Hot chocolate can be a healthy beverage, as long as you’re making a batch at home and watching the sugar content of your ingredients.
Go for a high-quality unsweetened cocoa powder as your base to enjoy the benefits of cocoa: allergy prevention, a reduced risk of certain cancers, and an anti-anxiety agent for starters.
Add a low-fat dairy or plant-based milk fortified with vitamin D, and all of a sudden you’re feeling good about drinking this childhood treat. Unfortunately, marshmallows don’t make the cut if you’re avoiding sugary drinks, but natural sweeteners, like honey or maple syrup, do.
10. Beet Juice
If you’re looking to kick your smoothies up a notch, consider adding beets to what you’re mixing. Fresh-squeezed beet juice can fight inflammation and improve blood flow, making it a popular choice for athletes looking to boost their physical performance.
Beet juice, or beetroot juice, is also a great source of vitamin C, iron, and potassium.
11. Ginger Tea
Ginger tea is a known anti-inflammatory that has been a go-to remedy for digestive problems and nausea since ancient times. The tea also has a calming effect for some, which is an added benefit for pregnant women seeking natural anti-nausea remedies.
If you like the taste of ginger in other areas of food prep, go for it. Fresh or ground ginger as an added spice retains all of those healthy benefits, with that added flavor zing in your food.
12. Cranberry Juice
Cranberry juice is traditionally linked to urinary tract infection prevention, particularly in women prone to them. There is growing evidence, though, that cranberries are a superfruit capable of protection against a number of chronic conditions, metabolic disorders, and digestive health.
Just watch for brands without added sugar, as some juices can quickly turn into a sugar bomb if you don’t carefully read labels.
13. Golden Milk Turmeric Tea
Golden milk, or turmeric milk, is a hot drink made with an unsweetened milk and various spices, like ginger, cinnamon, and its namesake turmeric.
Its roots are in India, but it has grown in popularity in coffee shops and among those seeking new hot beverages with proven health benefits.
Much like ginger, turmeric is an anti-inflammatory, but research shows it can also improve your mental health. Turmeric has been linked to stress reduction and as a natural treatment for depression.
Choosing alternatives to add to a healthy eating (and drinking) plan is easy when you know the benefits of what’s out there. If healthy alternatives to alcohol are what you’re after, try Surely.
Our alcohol-removed wines boast the health benefits of wine without the drawbacks of alcohol. They taste more like the real thing, too, because they are the real thing. Taste our non-alcoholic sparkling rosé for something pink or our Lemon Ginger Spritz for a bit of fizz.
- Coffee consumption and health: umbrella review of meta-analyses of multiple health outcomes
- Lemon Polyphenols Suppress Diet-induced Obesity by Up-Regulation of mRNA Levels of the Enzymes Involved in β-Oxidation in Mouse White Adipose Tissue
- Beneficial effects of green tea: A literature review
- The Role of Resveratrol in Cancer Therapy
- Neuroprotective action of resveratrol
- Pomegranate juice: a heart-healthy fruit juice
- Rehydration after exercise with fresh young coconut water, carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage and plain water
- Chemical Profile and Antioxidant Activity of the Kombucha Beverage Derived from White, Green, Black and Red Tea
- The effect of 100% tart cherry juice on serum uric acid levels, biomarkers of inflammation and cardiovascular disease risk factors
- Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality
- Health benefits of cocoa
- "Beet" the cold: beetroot juice supplementation improves peripheral blood flow, endothelial function, and anti-inflammatory status in individuals with Raynaud's phenomenon
- Cranberries for preventing urinary tract infections
- American cranberries and health benefits - an evolving story of 25 years
- Curcumin, an active component of turmeric (Curcuma longa), and its effects on health